Squash – Hand Pollination

Q: My zucchini plants (leaves and stems) look healthy and lots of blooms produce baby zukes. But after they’re about 3-4″ in length, the blossom end begins shriveling. They don’t rot; they just wither up and get pithy inside. When I’ve cut them open, there’s usually some hollow trails inside, but no bugs. Also, the stem end of the squash continues to grow thus producing a bulbous looking zuke. What on earth can be causing this?

A: Poor pollination is your problem. It would definitely cause the blossom end to shrivel up and rot. Look at the photo below and note how bad the blossom ends of the squash look. Since wild honeybees are almost extinct now, you’ll have to perform the rites of love yourself.

Use a small pair of scissors to clip off a male bloom and remove the flower petals. Rub the yellow, pollen-covered stamen onto the central pistil of a couple of female zucchini flowers. Repeat with other male and female blooms.

Hum a romantic tune as you work. You’ll have perfectly formed zucchini fruit by next week.


Poorly pollinated squash


Poorly pollinated cucumber


Poorly pollinated cucumber